Traveling with young children for long periods of time is often enough to send parents into a state of total panic, but there are some tried and tested tips which can help to make your flight smooth, painless, and even a little entertaining as opposed to a total nightmare when taking your kids on long flights.
Taking your kids on long flights
If you’re plagued by visions (or memories) of your little one throwing a meltdown level tantrum two hours into a six hour flight, you should try some of the tips mentioned below:
It might seem hard to justify the purchase on the run up to your trip, but trust us when we say that you’ll be glad you did when you get to the airport. Companies like Kiddee Cases, Trunki, and Skoot Kids have designed carry-ons for little ones which are small and light enough for them to wheel themselves (but there’s also a strap for when they get too tired and you have to pull them). This will give them a feeling of responsibility and keep them entertained in preparation for a long flight.
Prepare a range of activities
Most young kids on long flights have a pretty limited attention span (to say the least), and as such you have to be prepared with a variety of ways to keep them entertained. Stories, coloring books, stickers, notepads, small puzzles, and so on. Aim for around ten as it’s always better to have a few extra than not enough.
Fully Charged Tablet or DVD Player
You may not like the idea of distracting your kids on long flights with cartoons or video games, but when you’re on a flight (especially a long one) you have to think about those around you too. If the kids hit tantrum stage all bets are off and it’s time to bring out the DVDs, Blurays, or tablet. Just make sure that it’s charged and that anything they may want to watch is downloaded or packed. Don’t forget the headphones and charger!
Have Kids’ Games or Apps already downloaded
Kid friendly puzzle solving or brain teasing apps might also be a great way to pass some time in the knowledge that you’re keeping their brains stimulated.
Activities become gifts or treats
Everyone loves getting presents, but no-one loves them quite like children so why not use this to your advantage when traveling with kids on long flights? Wrap up the small toys and activities that you packed for them and dole them out now and then as an incentive for good behaviour.
Take along a favorite pillow and blanket so that your children can get comfy when they want to and maybe have a nap with some home comforts.
Sugar free treats
Take-off and landing are pretty tough on little ones so bring along some sugar free hard candies or lollipops for them to suck. This will potentially alleviate the pain from the change in pressure. At the very least it will distract them. When it comes to snacks you want to offer your kids on long flights something that will be healthy and take a little while to eat. Think fruit, vegetables, crackers, and cheese-sticks.
Consider the ‘Airplane Police’ threat
We totally get that you don’t want to frighten your children into behaving, but this is not that; this is a clever trick which can be employed by those who don’t mind a little white lie to help you survive taking your kids on long flights. Warn unruly kids that the ‘airplane police’ will be looking for bad behaviour. No need to go into detail about what these police might actually do; the suggestion of such people is often enough to straighten the behaviour of those who might otherwise kick or climb seats, or play with the fold-down tray.
None of this is foolproof of course, but they could help you save getting a few new gray hairs after taking your kids on a long flight.